Hoya Pubicalyx | Plant Care Guide

Hoya Pubicalyx

The beautiful Hoya pubicalyx is a fast-growing and low maintenance plant that is great for any house plant lover. The many different varieties attract plant enthusiasts. On the other hand, beginners enjoy having a plant that is easy to care for. 

Hoya pubicalyx has long, narrow leaves that are pointed at the tip. The leaves are succulent and can have different color variations depending on the variety. For some cultivars, the stems have a purple tone.

The flowers of the Hoya pubicalyx are small and star-shaped, and they come in different colors from white to red to purple. 

Botanical NameHoya pubicalyx
Common NamePorcelain Flower, Pink Silver Vine, Wax Plant
Size8-10 feet
DifficultyEasy
Pet FriendlyYes and No. Leaves are non-toxic. Milk-like fluid inside leaves are toxic.
Air CleanerYes

Hoya Pubicalyx Origin

Hoya pubicalyx is a woody epiphyte from the Apocynaceae family. It is native to the Philippines and can be found in tropical forests. It has become a favorite house plant because it grows well indoors and does not require extreme care.

How to Care for Hoya Pubicalyx

While the Hoya pubicalyx is an easy to care for plant, it is still important to be aware of the plant’s requirements. Maintaining proper care of the plant will keep it healthy and thriving for years to come.

Light and Temperature

Like most plants, Hoya pubicalyx will be happy in bright, indirect light (which mimics the filtered light wild plants receive in the tropical forests). However, this plant will also do well under artificial plant lights. Your Hoya pubicalyx might enjoy some direct light, especially in the morning. Avoid midday and afternoon direct sun, which can be too hot and harsh for the leaves.

As a tropical plant, Hoya pubicalyx prefers to maintain a temperature above 60 degrees. It will not handle dropping anywhere close to freezing and should be kept indoors during the winter months. 

Soil and Container

Like most Hoya species, Hoya pubicalyx prefers a well-draining, aerated soil. This maintains root health, allowing them to grow without sitting in water. Since they do have higher water needs during the growing season, the soil medium should have a high nutrient and organic material content. One recommended blend is one part perlite, one part orchid bark, and one part compost. 

Most containers can work for a Hoya pubicalyx, including hanging baskets. The most important feature is a drainage hole. If your container does not have a drainage hole, you can place rocks or gravel at the bottom, allowing the soil to sit above any potential sitting water. Terra cotta is an excellent pot material because it naturally releases moisture into the air, keeping the soil from staying too moist and increasing the ambient humidity. 

Water and Humidity 

As mentioned before, Hoya pubicalyx is a relatively low maintenance plant and that includes its water needs. While it will thrive on a consistent watering schedule, this plant is drought tolerant. It is forgiving of longer dry periods, within reason. If your soil does completely dry out between waters, don’t overwater at the next watering. Small, frequent waterings will help the soil regain its moisture.

The ideal time to water your Hoya pubicalyx is when the top two inches of soil are dry. It is easy to use your finger to test when your plant needs to be watered by feeling the soil. Your Hoya pubicalyx will enjoy a little more water during the growing season, usually spring and summer. If the water in your area is particularly hard, your plant may prefer filtered or bottled water that is softer. 

The more light your plant is receiving, the more water it will require. This is especially true during the warmer months. Keep an eye out for yellowing leaves or dropping leaves, as this can be a sign that your Hoya pubicalyx is receiving too much water. 

Since this plant is native to the tropics, it prefers higher humidity. A minimum humidity of 60% should be maintained year-round. Keep Hoya pubicalyx away from air vents, which can dry out the air around the plant. If you live in a drier location, a humidifier is recommended. Some owners are able to maintain humidity by regularly misting their plant. Using soft or filtered water will help prevent water spots from forming on the beautiful leaves.

Fertilization

Hoya pubicalyx does not require large amounts of nutrients, even when growing and blooming. During the growing season of spring and summer, you can fertilize once a month with a dilute compost tea, fish emulsion, or commercial houseplant fertilizer. If you are using a commercial fertilizer, liquid options are better because the nutrients are more available to the plant. 

Do not fertilize in winter because Hoya pubicalyx goes into a semi-dormant period and does not grow much. Fertilizing in winter can lead to over fertilization, which the plant will show with yellowing leaves.

Flowering

Many houseplants do not flower when grown indoors, but Hoya pubicalyx is one of the exceptions. With proper care, this plant will bloom in the late spring and summer. The flowers are small and star-shaped. They are found in small clusters around the plant.

It can take 1-2 years for a Hoya pubicalyx to begin blooming. Once it has started producing flowers, do not cut off the flowering stem year to year. You do not want your plant to have to expend unnecessary energy regrowing the stem each year. Dead flowers can be removed once they are done blooming.

Pruning

Hoya pubicalyx does not require regular pruning. Some people like to prune their plant for aesthetic reasons, especially when training it to climb or form a certain shape. If you are going to prune your Hoya pubicalyx, it is best to do so before the growing season in early spring. This allows the plant to heal and produce new growth during the optimal time. 

Pruning is an excellent time to try propagating a new Hoya pubicalyx. If the stems you cut off have nodes, they can be placed in water or growing medium for new roots to form. 

Repotting

Hoya pubicalyx does not need to be repotted frequently. It does better when root bound and may undergo a shock period if transferred during the wrong time of year or into a pot too large. Repotting should be done just prior to the growing season. Try not to move your plant into a new pot that is too much bigger than its prior pot. 

If your soil mix is sub-optimal, repotting is an excellent time for an upgrade. Loosen the remaining soil around the roots to create aeration and add a new mix of well-draining, airy soil. 

Pests

All house plants are susceptible to pests that can harm the plant. These are some of the most common pests for Hoya pubicalyx.

Mealybugs

Mealybugs enjoy feeding on all varieties of Hoya because they have thick, succulent leaves. Mealybugs are small insects that look like they are covered in white hair. They suck the juices out of the leaves and a severe infestation can be deadly for your plant.

Mealybugs can be treated with any commercial insecticide. Some products are meant to be sprayed on the plant and some are meant to be added to the soil. Once mealybugs are seen, it is best to treat the entire plant as their eggs and larvae are very small. Larger adults can be killed using a cotton swab dipped in alcohol. 

Aphids

Aphids are known for causing trouble in vegetable gardens, but they can also affect Hoya pubicalyx. They will hide on the underside of leaves and flowers or near new growth. A gentle shower can remove most of the adults, but it is always good to do additional treatments to kill eggs and young aphids. Use an insecticidal soap, insecticide, or neem oil as directed.

Whiteflies

Whiteflies are a sap-sucking insect that you can see flying around your houseplants. The sign of an infestation is dry, wilted and yellow leaves. Sticky traps will catch the adult whiteflies. It can also be helpful to use an insecticide to make sure all individuals are removed.

Nematodes

Nematodes live in the soil of your Hoya pubicalyx and can cause root rot by eating away at the roots. They are drawn to wet, warm environments, which is why well-draining soil is so important. The plant will have stunted growth and yellowing leaves if suffering from a nematode infestation.

If the infestation is too severe, the plant should be disposed of to prevent the nematodes from spreading to your other house plants. For new plants, add organic compost to your growing medium as a source of biological control for the nematodes.

Diseases

Root Rot

Root rot is usually caused by a fungus, but it can also be caused just by keeping the roots in sitting water. If your plant is withering and growth is stunted, it could be due to root rot. If you move back the soil at the base of the stem and see that the stem is soft or rotted, you are most likely dealing with a root rot infection. 

Once the entire root system and stem have been compromised, it is unlikely that the plant will be able to be saved. However, if it is salvageable, you can repot the plant in fresh, pasteurized soil and minimally water until the plant recovers. 

Blight

Blight is another fungal infection that can affect Hoya pubicalyx. It can show as grey spots on the leaves or brown spots on the stems and leaves. Due to the thick and waxy nature of the leaves, the infection may not be obvious until much of the plant is affected. Once the fungus moves down the stem and onto the roots, it can be fatal to the plant. 

Commercial fungicides can be purchased to control blight. Affected leaves should be removed and the plant should be monitored for a recurring infection. 

How to Propagate Hoya Pubicalyx 

Hoya pubicalyx can be propagated through stem propagation in water or a growing medium. Before beginning, make sure scissors or garden shears are sterilized to prevent introducing a pathogen to the plant.

Cut a piece of stem from the growing end that is approximately 6 inches in length and has at least a couple of nodes present. Leave the cutting out for 24 hours, but keep it out of sunlight. Remove the lower leaves and place the bottom portion of the stem into the growing medium with as many nodes as possible below the soil line (or water line). 

Keep your planted cutting moist. Warmth and humidity will help the cutting to start forming roots. Roots will typically develop in 3-4 weeks. If you are propagating in water, move your cutting to soil once roots are 1-2 inches in length. This will prevent the roots from getting too accustomed to growing in water. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Hoya publicly is a vining plant with long, narrow leaves. The leaves are pointed on the end and can have different color variegations. A few common varieties are:

  • Pink Silver: silver mottling on leaves that looks pink in sunlight, flowers are red with pink centers
  • Black Dragon: lime green leaves, black flowers with red center
  • Red Button: red and purple coloration on leaves, flowers are deep purple with red centers
  • Royal Hawaiian Purple: leaves have silver or grey variegation, flowers are dark pink or black

The most important factor in getting an indoor Hoya pubicalyx to bloom is adequate sunlight. A couple hours of direct sunlight in the morning can help the plant receive the light it needs to bloom. In addition to sunlight, make sure to fertilize during the growing season.

Also, do not move the location of the plant, re-pot, or change its care once flower buds have started to form. Changing its care can cause the plant to go into shock and drop its buds.

Begin training your Hoya pubicalyx to climb along a path while it is still small and young. Place a climbing structure into the pot and use twine or string to position your plant to continue growing up the support structure. A bamboo stick or moss pole can be used to achieve this effect.

If you would like to train your Hoya pubicalyx to climb a wall or window frame, small plant clips can be purchased from a garden store to place your plant along the intended path. 

Hoya pubicalyx is non-toxic for pets and humans. However, it can excrete a white fluid when cut. This sap can cause irritation or an allergic reaction. Wear gloves when cutting to avoid a potential reaction.

Final Thoughts on Hoya Pubicalyx

Including one of the colorful varieties of Hoya pubicalyx in your home can add beautiful greenery and understated flowers. Since many houseplants do not flower, Hoya pubicalyx is a great addition to bring some different colors into your home. 

Be sure to check out all of our Plant Care Guides!

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